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The Life of Jung

The Life of Jung

5.0 1
by Ronald Hayman

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It seems Jung is usually seen as an idol or is condemned for his failings. Ronald Hayman neither ignores Jung's faults nor exaggerates them. Using a substantial amount of unpublished material Hayman offers an insight into how Jung's ideas grew out of his own experiences.


It seems Jung is usually seen as an idol or is condemned for his failings. Ronald Hayman neither ignores Jung's faults nor exaggerates them. Using a substantial amount of unpublished material Hayman offers an insight into how Jung's ideas grew out of his own experiences.

Editorial Reviews

Independent on Sunday
Engrossing. . . . Hayman's masterful life of this awesome megalomaniac pivots on a chilling paradox.
Compelling....Hayman captures...the extraordinary charisma of his subject.
New York Times Book Review
[M]eticulously researched...judicious....intelligently illuminates the private life Jung deliberately veiled in shadow.
Mail on Sunday
[This] judicious new biography paints a darker, more complicated picture of Jung.
Anthony Storr
The best biography of Jung.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"The S.S. men are being transformed into a caste of knights ruling sixty million natives. [T]here is no more ideal form of government than a decent form of oligarchy," wrote Carl Jung of the German Nazis in the mid-1930s. One of the many strengths of this candid and discerning biography is that Hayman (Nietzsche: A Critical Life) enlists such provocative, alarming material to build a careful, nuanced portrait of his subject that neither excuses nor excoriates his actions and words. After studying psychiatry in Paris at the turn of the century (while also investigating the supernatural via s ances), Jung became an ardent admirer of Freud, with whom he agreed on many things (though Freud's emphasis on sexuality was a notable exception). Meanwhile, Jung pursued his own theories of the unconscious, using myth and archetype as models. His break with Freud before WWI was a defining moment in the development of his theory and his career. Without losing sight of Jung's total oeuvre, Hayman examines the enormous advantages Jung gained by maintaining ambiguous views of National Socialist policies. Indeed, Hayman shows how Hitler's attack on Jews gave Jung a chance to promote his own psychological theories (e.g., the defamation of Freud and other Jewish psychoanalysts led to the possibility for the ascendance of Jung's analytical psychology). Placing Jung's anti-Semitism in a broad cultural and professional context as well as exploring his other influences, including his complicated relationships with patients and disciples Hayman has produced a vital and moving portrait of the man and his time. While not detailed enough for scholars, this is a fine work for the general reader. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Swiss psychiatrist Jung (1875-1961) lived creatively, grandly, and sometimes irresponsibly. Spiritual, mystical, and at times schizoid, he brought us archetypes, the collective unconscious, introversion and extraversion, and anima and shadow, but his reputation suffers from affairs with patients, cultism, and apologies for Nazism. A biographer of Nietzsche, Sartre, Proust, Sylvia Plath, and Thomas Mann, Hayman knows German and retranslated parts of Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections for this book, first published in England in 1999. But Jung's complicated story lurches and tumbles in his hands. Research and life events are overpacked into paragraphs laced with orphan pronouns and non-sequiturs. Hayman mixes bit players with protagonists, the vapid with the gravid, and when he ventures an opinion, it is often silly, e.g., that patients benefit more from unstable than from stable therapists. Intrepid specialists may find some new material, but the great bulk is shamelessly derivative. Not recommended; libraries are much better off with Anthony Stevens's On Jung (Princeton Univ., 1999. rev. ed.) or Frank McLynn's Carl Gustav Jung (Thomas Dunne Bks: St. Martin's, 1997). E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In this examination of the life of Carl Jung, biographer Hayman neither ignores his faults nor exaggerates them in investigating the most crucial questions surrounding him. Drawing upon a substantial amount of unpublished material not used by previous biographers, he explores the many facets of this enigmatic, charismatic figure who initiated groundbreaking ideas yet trusted only his impulses, who had a cultivated mind but was, in the words of Thomas Mann, always a half-Nazi. The book contains a detailed chronology and a section of b&w photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
A polished, highly professional biography of Jung that covers all the personal and intellectual bases, as well as demystifying his more rarified theories, from Ronald Hayman . Although this is very much a linear biography, the author works the neat trick of bringing the older Jung to bear as self-analyst on his youthful self. Working from both Jung's bulky correspondence and his scholarly writings (particularly Memories, Dreams, and Reflections), Hayman works up through Jung's difficult childhood years, his important association with Freud, and onward to his independent work on myth and the collective unconscious. Jung's intellectual substance is ably conveyed and given new context, with his letters (many of them here published for the first time) used by the author to help reveal the genesis of Jung's ideas. Certainly, Jung's work on symbols and myth, the stories at the root of our consciousness, primordial images and archetypes, synchronicity, and the role of amplification in interpretation make fascinating reading, but what feels so vital here is the delineation of Jung's milieu at home and abroad. There he is in Munich, squabbling over psychoanalytic bragging rights with the Viennese School as the National Socialists rise to power; there are his lovers, who somehow never compromised the rock of his domestic life; and there is his voracious appetite for theological discussion. It is a very well-choreographed piece, as Hayman sets the stage, dives into the fray (where colossal personalities were vying over the human psyche), then surfaces again to remind readers that Jung was a fellow with his own set of foibles, missteps, and crazy notions (check outsome of Jung's sentiments onJudaism). Likely to become the standard biography of the revolutionary psychoanalyst. (16 pp. photos, not seen)

Product Details

Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Ronald Hayman has authored numerous internationally acclaimed biographies, including works on Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, Marcel Proust, Sylvia Plath, and Thomas Mann. He lives in London.

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The Life of Jung 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands.'--Douglas Noel Adams (1952 -2001) The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was the founder of analytical psychology ('synthetical' psychology seems more appropriate to me). Hating to be called a mystic, Jung became infuriated whenever he was accused of mysticism and claimed that his work was strictly scientific--based on objective data and empirical fact. But, as Douglas Adams put it, 'If it looks like a duck . . .' Jung wrote his doctoral thesis on seances! He was deeply immersed in astrology, spiritualism, mythology, parapsychology, alchemy, Gnosticism, theosophy, clairvoyance, precognition, telepathy, extrasensory perception, reincarnation, UFOs, flying saucers, and various and sundry other occult ideas and practices. Whereas Sigmund Freud was a rationalist and a reductionist, Jung was an idealist and an 'expansionist.' Fascinated with spiritualism, he sought to unite the wisdom of the East and the West. One wonders if he excluded anything, however far-fetched and ridiculous, from his cosmos. With Jung, all things are possible. As I read Ronald Hayman's masterful biography, I thought of the words of Festus (which could well describe Jung): 'Paul! Paul! You are out of your mind! Too much learning has driven you insane! Stark raving mad!' (Acts 26:24). I can imagine this pointed exchange: Jung: 'There are MORE things in heaven and earth, Herr Doktor Freud, than are dreamt of in your psychology.' Freud: 'There are LESS things in heaven and earth, Herr Doktor Jung, than are dreamt of in your psychology.' Jung professed to be a Christian, but his religion was unorthodox. He believed that God needed man to correct his (God's) deficiencies, and that Satan was Jesus' older brother. He often spoke heretically of 'the dark side of God.' Jung confessed that he often wrote ambiguously because truth is too complex to be captured in a non-ambiguous statement. No wonder that Hayman (and this reviewer) finds Jung's work to be vague, nebulous, muddled,confused, and confusing. Hermann Hesse, author of DEMIAN, SIDDHARTHA, and STEPPENWOLF, said, 'I have always respected Jung, nevertheless have never been as impressed by his writings as by Freud's.' Although I have strong reservations about Freud's 'fixed idea' of sexuality, I agree with Hesse. A voracious reader and a scholar of vast erudition, Jung so bubbled over with various (and weird) ideas that his pronouncements became jumbled in a mish-mash of mystical mutterings. His saner ideas dealt with the importance of symbolism, archetypes, personality types (including introverts and extraverts), and the collective unconscious. Like Freud, Jung was charismatic, narcissistic, and authoritarian. Although married to Emilie Preiswerk for 52 years, a devoted wife who bore him five children, Jung drew women 'like bees to honey.' Quite the womanizer, he became involved in so many amorous adventures that one loses count of his 'affairs of the heart.' Jung believed that rationalism and philosophical materialism, incarnated in science and technology, had robbed modern man of his soul. His heroic mission, as he saw it, was to help a fragmented humanity become integrated. The yin and the yang must be united to form a spiritual whole. The trouble is that Jung's use of terms such as 'soul,' 'spirit,' 'psyche,' 'mind,' 'intellect,' and 'the collective unconscious' are distressingly fuzzy. Anyone who respects the scientific method must look at Jung and shake his head in disbelief. Louis Breger's FREUD: DARKNESS IN THE MIDST OF VISION was the best book I reviewed in 2000. Ronald Hayman's A LIFE OF JUNG makes a strong bid to be the best book I shall review in 2001. I recommend it most highly.